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Easy ways to prepare to get the most from your training


Written by Jane Hames

When you have a busy workload, giving up a day or two to attend training can sometimes be a struggle and to prepare for the training doesn’t always make it to the top of the priority list. The tips I will share with you here really won’t take much time at all. Just a little bit of investment will enable you to get the best you can from your course.

As an IT trainer, I do find that, once people are in the swing of the training they are always pleased to have given up their time to come along. The main reason for this is that they very quickly realise how much time they will save and how much more value they will be able to get out of their work. (The idea of gaining a reputation for being “good at the software” is often a motivation too!)

Is just turning up and hoping for the best going to enable you to really achieve your objectives. Do you even know what the course is about yet or have you “been sent”? Here are a few things to think about prior to the training (even if the only time you’ve had is on your journey there). Having answers to these questions will ensure you get the most from the day and that your trainer can properly cater to your needs.

1. What are your objectives?

  • Unless you know exactly what you need to learn, this could seem quite a vague question, so here’s an example that might help you answer it. Let’s say you are going to attend an Excel course. You have dabbled with Excel, but it takes ages and you don’t feel confident that you are getting things right. You could save a copy of one of your workbooks (or colleague’s workbooks) to show to the trainer. Even in a group training course, a good trainer will find time to have a look at you work and advise you on it.
  • Write a list of things you aren’t confident with.
  • Think about all the things you can do so far this will be really useful information for the trainer.
  • Maybe a colleague has said, “oh you definitely need to learn PivotTables”. Your colleague might be right, but focussing on one feature might mean that you overlook the benefits of some other features that the trainer is going to show you.
  • Bear in mind, you might not know what you don’t know, so be open minded as it might be a combination of features that will enable to you to acheive these objectives.
  • Be prepared to think creatively and work with your trainer to find solutions to your problems. There’s not always an instant answer to a problem, but a bit
    of troubleshooting and some creative work arounds, you should hope to get where you need to be.
  • Have a big picture idea of what you would like to be better at. Your objectives might be to improve your overall way of working. Objectives don’t have to be a list of features!

2. Do you know how you want to develop your skills both short and long term?

  • Things can change so quickly in the world of work, so it might that in short term you want to able to do X, Y & Z. It might be worth thinking how you want to develop your skills, as an individual in your current job and also within your current team and organisation. Perhaps you have a long term career plan – your trainer might be able to advise you on the next steps for your learning.

3. Does your manager or organisation have some plans for your development that aren’t clear to you?

  • Sometimes, I work with people who tell me that their manager has “sent” them on the training, but they don’t really know why. If that’s you, ask your manager what they have in mind and what THEIR objectives are. This might help you to determine your own objectives. If you have an unapproachable manager, just bear in mind that being proactive about finding out why you are attending the training will result in a huge benefit to your manager as you can then focus on achieving what will be required of you. It should be a win win as you can feel motivated to acheive what you need and your manager knows that you are taking it seriously. A good manager will have already talked to you about the training and got your input and I know this is more often the case!

Most importantly – training should be enjoyable! At Glide Training we aim to make it a great day that is highly productive and leaves you full of confidence and enthusiasm. We hope to see you soon and if you have any questions about what training is best for you, we would love to have a chat about it, so please do give us a call.

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